Some hikers came across this gruesome scene this past week in California. The picture of the incident was posted to Facebook and has since gone viral. A heard of Mule deer numbering around 100 apparently fell off a game trail during the winter migration and were either killed or severally injured on the sharp jagged rocks.
In a Facebook post by Linda Bryant Pemberton she relay second hand on what supposedly happened.
Brad was down at Mac’s Sporting Goods and got the whole story on this. Apparently last night, these deer and many, many others (around 100 deer) were trying to make their way to their wintering grounds on this side of the mountains and hit ice on very steep areas. From below Lone Pine to Bishop Pass these deer hit the ice and tumbled down the steep boulders to their deaths, or to mortal injury. Brad was told that the couple in the picture were actually slitting the throats of the mortally injured in order to put them out of their pain. In the nearly 40 years I’ve been in this Valley, I have never heard of such a terrible tragedy happening to our deer herds. They suffered 4 years of drought, then a terrible winter with a devastating winter die-off, and now this. It will take many years for our herds to rebuild from this loss.
After reading a lot of the comments not everyone is buying the story of ice being the culprit some people suggesting that it was a rock slide that knocked the deer off the mountain. I think both ideas sound plausible, but research seems to confirm the original posters assessment.
This is not the first an incident like this has happened in the same pass. In 1954 a group of 26 Mule Deer died from slipping on ice and in 2001 16 deer died the same way. To read the academically cited reports of those two incidents click Here.